USAA’s New Policy on Property Taxes

May 19th, 2014 by David McCurry

USAAWe are entering the busiest time of the year for buying and selling real estate. As the sales volume increases, it becomes more important for real estate professionals to pay attention to the details of every real estate transaction to achieve the best results possible. Typically, the most successful transactions are the ones with the least surprises.

We recently noticed that USAA mortgage company changed its policy for collecting property taxes in its escrow accounts. USAA’s new policy is to collect property taxes based on a non-homestead rate in all transactions (even if the property is currently being assessed at a homestead rate!). So what is the issue? If the purchaser ultimately pays taxes at a homestead rate then the lender must adjust its escrow account and give the excess money back to the purchaser. No harm here. The issue we see occurs at the closing table when the purchaser has to bring an extra one to two thousand dollars to closing than they expected to bring. Sometimes the purchaser does not have this money or sometimes he or she has a hard time getting the money in a timely fashion.

Thankfully, this situation has not stopped a transaction with our firm. We are now advising all of the realtors that work with us to be aware of how USAA will collect property taxes so they can more accurately estimate the amount of money their purchasers will have to bring to closing. If you, or a client you are working with, are obtaining a USAA loan hopefully you won’t be surprised by the new policy.

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